Thursday March 7, 2013
Talented Zulfadli needs help to save career
THERE is no doubt that Malaysia’s first-ever world junior singles champion Zulfadli Zulkifli has immense talent but, if his performance in the All-England is anything to go by, he is in urgent need of help to save his career.
The 19-year-old Zulfadli did well in the opening round of the qualifying tournament on Tuesday when he pulled the rug from under world No. 52 Suppanyu Avihingsanon of Thailand for a 22-20, 21-15 win.
But the win came at a cost – he aggravated an old ankle injury when he tripped during the match. The injury then proved too much to bear as he went down fighting 21-11, 14-21, 12-21 to another Malaysian professional, Tan Chun Seang, in the second round – and thus failed to make the cut for the main draw in his All-England debut.
While other world junior champions – like Viktor Axelsen of Denmark (2010) and Wang Zhengming of China (2008) – have slowly eased onto the world class stage, Zulfadli is still lagging.
World No. 64 Zulfadli trains under his father Zulkifli and is funded by professional club KLRC. Although he is a professional player, Zulfadli should be given the necessary backing as he had proven himself by winning the Asian and world junior titles.
The BAM and National Sports Council (NSC) are willing to meet the shuttler halfway. The shuttle is now in Zulfadli’s court and he’ll have to make some bold decisions and compromises to revive his career.
Meanwhile, two BAM players – fourth ranked Mohd Arif Abdul Latif and former national No. 1 Lydia Cheah – also failed to make the main draw on Tuesday.